A little over a year ago - right in the midst of an unfamiliar, turbulent pandemic climate - CFM revealed an entirely new brand that perfectly encompassed the one concept which mattered most at the time: community. Everywhere you looked, people all across the globe were inevitably re-discovering the importance of having a support system of champions and advocates to rally behind. More than ever, simply being there for one another during the most challenging days some had ever seen took center stage. And it wasn't just a universal show of support between close-knit family and friend groups but instead within entire communities everywhere, all influenced by the small businesses and charities that built them.
Though our Marketing Team certainly didn't ask for the help of a global pandemic to drive home our new Community First brand mission, the timing of it all did weirdly manage to sync up with our intended message. If recent events have taught us all anything, it's that you must actively lead with authenticity and care in whatever venture you're taking on. Such a notion is especially true in business practices. It's rare that a business, no matter how big or small, will be able to successfully gain their customers' confidence in their product, service, or brand through a smoke-and-mirrors approach. CFM emphasizes our presence at community fundraisers, fairs, and other events that need our support. We persistently connect with the places and people we serve to build those genuine, lasting customer relationships. We pledge to never stop advocating for Missouri's rural communities because we want them to continue thriving beyond the present. Our future as an insurance company and Mutual, specifically, depends on those healthy communities, so we invest in them every chance we get. Those continuous efforts are ultimately how the loyalty piece of our brand is cultivated, year after year.
Fostering Brand Integrity: How We've Upheld Our Mission So Far
With community betterment now guiding CFM's fresh brand identity, our crew placed high importance on fulfilling our mission whenever an opportunity presented itself. It's not like we hadn't always done this in the past, but in the current unfamiliar world we were all trying our best to adapt to, giving back in any way, shape, or form was more vital than ever before. The truth is, strengthening brand integrity ends and begins with accountability. In other words - if you're going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk. So, we started walking.
The journey we've traveled since our rebrand launch has been a rewarding one. And thankfully, it wasn't a lonely trip. We actively enlisted the help of our internal network - agents and employees - to collectively decide where our initiatives should be focused. Our Missouri communities are so vastly diverse, each unique area posing different philanthropic needs than the next. However, we have always tried to spread our giveback efforts across the state to every county, town, and cause that we can. Sometimes we stumble upon those needs organically, but we're often called to help through direct requests from agents, staff members, and friends belonging to our immediate community.
Take a look at our community outreach over recent years.
Our approach to giving back isn't complicated, nor is it enforced by a corner-office exec trying to maintain a positive reputation to please a group of stockholders. We are a Mutual, and our entire makeup as a company owned by its policyholders depends on our service to them and the places they call home. The Missouri communities that helped CFM thrive for so many years need all the support they can get in return to flourish long-term. And that's exactly why we built a brand inspired by charitable commitment.
Much of our cherished connections with our Missouri communities stem from appearances by our Claims Team. They are on the ground every day working to repair losses in the lives of our policyholders. As a result, they play a huge part in setting the tone for how our people feel about us and what they learn about our company's mission through their claim journey.
Our other departments also get the opportunity to interact with our communities when we attend local festivals and the Missouri State Fair. You may also catch us at area golf tournaments or school activities to raise money for important causes within the community.
For years, CFM has donated to the same charities and fundraisers we always have, along with adding new causes here and there. We consider it a great thing to have a growing list of charitable causes to support. Some philanthropic examples you may know of or donate to as well are area 4-H groups, sports teams, FFA chapters, college alumni foundations, retirement facilities, 5k races, U.S. Veterans' charities, and more. We are so fortunate to be able to provide additional opportunities for these causes and fundraising events to grow in popularity and gain more traction year after year.
Listening To The Needs Of Our CFM Circle
Sometimes, our policyholders, agents, employees, or their family members, face personal struggles in their lives, whether it be a devastating medical diagnosis or financial challenge. When we catch wind of those heartbreaking setbacks, whether through social media mentions or word-of-mouth, we do everything we can to help. Most recently, a beloved little farmhand of a CFM farm policyholder got diagnosed with a brain tumor. This little guy - still in elementary school - had his own hashtag trending all over Facebook, and we felt compelled to help however we could. We sent a John Deere swag pack to him and provided gas money for his parents to travel to and from his treatment appointments more comfortably.
When those in our insurance family need financial support during a dark time or simply want help spreading awareness about a challenge they're navigating, CFM promises to be there however we can. Everyone and every community have different needs, but we preach time and time again to those in our CFM circle how important it is to speak on those concerns so we can lend a hand. It's a Mutual thing.
Feel The Benefits Of Giving Back In Your Community: Things You Can Do To Make A Positive Impact
You'll likely have zero regrets about donating your time to support a cause you're truly passionate about. We stumbled upon this quote by writer, Madeline Ames, regarding volunteer work, and it couldn't be more spot on.
Helping your community in any manner is an opportunity for you to grow as a person and better understand how you fit into the world around you. When you put yourself out there for charities and fundraisers that need your support, you'll get to know so many people within your community that share the same interests as you. Your vulnerability to engage with others at these giveback events will then lead to lifelong friendships that make you dig deeper into the importance of empathy, patience, and resilience. See, giving back in any capacity creates an undeniably positive ripple effect in not only the lives you're hoping to better, but your own as well.
There are so many important causes in our vibrant hometowns that require willing, passionate volunteers to support the work they’re doing. The key is to find the initiatives you're most called to help, and hone in on how you can donate your time or money to those organizations. Keep in mind - you don't have to be wealthy to make an impact within your community. Your time and voice are worth more than gold when it comes to spreading awareness about causes near and dear to your heart. Here are some starting points to branch off of when thinking about community giveback opportunities fit for your capabilities.
Charitable Missions You Can Serve
Your community likely has several non-profit organizations dedicated to specific advocacy goals. Consider these examples perfectly organized by our friends at Green Drop and determine if any of them could use a few hours of your volunteer time each week or month.
1. Animal Charities - If you're an animal lover, focusing your volunteer work on causes like these would be rewarding: wildlife conservation organizations, hunting and fishing conservation groups, pet and animal welfare organizations or shelters, zoos and aquariums, and service animal training programs. Your community's furry friends and critters are so lucky to have pawsome supporters like you! (See what we did there?)
2. Community Development Charities - If keeping your community vibrant and thriving is important to you, consider volunteering for your town's Chamber of Commerce, Fair Board, Main Street initiative, museum, or a Community Development Corporation (CDC). CDCs are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that function to support and revitalize communities, especially those that are impoverished or struggling. Affordable housing projects are the most common example of this kind of charity.
3. Education Charities - There are so many opportunities for you to support and serve your community's youth, from preschool students to graduate school attendees and beyond. When exploring this realm of volunteer work, keep in mind that some of these charities serve as educational institutions, while others focus on making education more accessible and effective for different people and communities. Here are a few common subcategories to narrow in on:
- Private Elementary, Junior High, and High Schools
- Scholarships and Financial Aid Services
- School Reform and Experimental Education
- Different Support for Students, Teachers, and Parents
The realm of education charities is a vast one, and there are so many avenues to support. Again, do your research online and on the ground to find the scenario you most want to support. Whether it be inner-city students, first-generation college students, or school supplies for low-income families, there’s a charity that exists for you to support.
4. Environmental Charities - Similar to animal charities, environmental charities focus on preservation, appreciation, and sustainable development for the environment. Just as animal charities work to protect wildlife, environmental charities strive to preserve our planet and local ecosystems in a variety of ways. There are two primary subgroups when it comes to this type of charity:
- Environmental Conservation and Protection
- Parks and Nature Centers
As you can imagine, so many initiatives fall under this charity group. And Missouri has many National Parks and conservation areas to choose from. Whether you help plant trees one weekend or clean up trash around a park the next, the environment and those like you who aim to preserve its beauty and health will be so thankful for your volunteer efforts.
5. Health Charities - Better overall health (both physical and mental) for those we love and care for in our community is extremely important. Health charities aim to support those around us who may be fighting an illness or disability, are working on finding cures for diseases, and taking time to promote public awareness about health in general. Community health initiatives can be broken down in this manner:
- Disease and Disorder Charities
- Medical Research Charities
- Patient and Family Support Charities
- Medical Services and Treatment
Visiting your local community center, medical office, health department, or pharmacy can shed light on what health concerns your community is facing. Maybe there's a localized blood or plasma shortage you can lend your support to. Or perhaps someone in your community was recently diagnosed with a rare disease you could help raise money and awareness for. Taking the time to align your public health goals with those around you is rewarding on so many levels. Health matters - this we know.
6. Human Services - Perhaps the most broad and well-known charitable category within communities, human services takes a lot of different life experiences and needs into consideration like:
- Children’s and Family Services
- Food Banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution
- Homeless Services
- Social Services
- Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services
Maybe your community needs CASA or BBBS volunteers, or perhaps there's an uptick in food pantry shortages that call you to donate. Either way, those struggling to get by in your community will be grateful for your willingness to make their challenging situation more hopeful.
Pro Tip: If you're confident you want to begin the process of giving back but aren't' sure where to start, online platforms like VolunteerMatch or Idealist provide you with opportunities that fit your specific interests, abilities, and time allotment.
Let Us Be A Voice For Your Community
At CFM, we believe true customer loyalty comes from a winning game plan that’s beneficial to everyone on the team - and it’s hard to lose when you’re giving back. So we’ve made it our mission to create a truly rewarding insurance experience for each and every policyholder by making sure their premium comes full circle, continuously flowing back into the places they call home.
When you become a piece of the CFM circle, you’ll join a tight-knit family of like-minded individuals collectively dedicated to helping every community in Missouri not only stay alive but thrive. Together, we can advocate for the places and things that matter most to you, by keeping your premium - and our mutual investment - local. Here’s to insurance that not only protects but inspires. Here’s to putting community first!
What kinds of community-based causes fuel your philanthropic fire? Tell us on our new Community First web page. This online landing page is just one more beneficial tool we employed as a result of our rebrand to carry out our mission of giving back across the Show-Me-State.